This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Introduction: To this point in chapter 10 of Matthew’ Gospel, the Lord has told His apostles what it will be like for s them as they go out to preach His gospel: they will be severely mistreated. He has also told them why they will be mistreated: If the Jews would despise Him so much as to call Him, Beelzebul, which means, the Lord of the dung, or the devil himself, how much more will they despise them. But up until now, He has not told them what their response to these things should be. Let’ consider for a moment how we might respond. If we knew that to follow s Christ meant that all men would turn against us, that they would try to kill us, even those who are closest to us in life, wouldn’ this make us afraid? Would we still then want to follow Him? This is what the Lord has been asking t us through this passage. Are we willing to deny ourselves -- our own goals and aspirations, our own comforts in this life --, in order to follow Him? Are we willing to give up even our own safety and put our lives on the line to follow Him? Jesus tells us that we must, if we are to be His disciples. He says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26). This is the clearest definition of discipleship that I know of in Scripture, and I often repeat it because we need to hear it and heed it. If we ever expect to gain heaven, we must do it the way Jesus tells us, and what He tells us is that it will cost us everything we have. We must even let go of our own lives to be His disciples. We must be willing to do His work even if it means that we must die for it. What He tells us this morning is that we cannot live as secret Christians, blend in with the world to avoid persecution, and still hope to spend eternity with Him. We cannot cower in a corner, deathly afraid of telling anyone the truth lest they hate us or hurt us, and still be faithful to the Lord. No. The Lord tells us plainly here this morning that The proper response to the threats of the world is to trust in Him and not to be afraid. I. Nothing could be plainer from the words which our Lord now tells them. He says, “Therefore do not fear them.” A. The words in the Greek give us an even clearer idea of what He means by this. 1. He is not telling them that they are already afraid and that they should stop, for Jesus hasn’ sent them out t yet. They haven’ been confronted with the hatred of the Jews yet. Perhaps they had never faced this t kind of hatred before. 2. What He is actually saying is, “You must not even begin to fear them.” The temptation would now be there, but they must resist it. a. Now they are faced with going out, and they will be confronted with the hatred of the Jews, but they must not allow themselves to be tempted to fear. They must not allow their fear of this hatred to keep them from even beginning the work Jesus had called them to. b. If there is one thing that paralyzes us and keeps us from reaching out to others more than anything else, it is fear. We are afraid that others won’ like us, or that they will hate us, or even hurt us t emotionally or physically. No one likes to get hurt. Our Lord plainly tells us that there was never a man who hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it. We love ourselves too much to put ourselves in the way of danger. But sometimes, in the work the Lord has called us to, it is necessary. But in the face of this danger, we must not be afraid. B. But now the question which arises in our minds, and which probably arose in their minds after they heard this, is, Why? With all that they’ about to face from these wolves He’ sending them out to, why shouldn’ re s t they be afraid? Jesus actually gives them two answers: One we’ already seen, and another He gives them ve now. 1. The first answer we saw last week: Realize that it is inevitable that if you associate with Christ, if you become His disciple, His slave, you will be hated. a. There is a price to pay to be with Jesus, and to become like Him, and that price is hatred. Jesus said that the people of this will would not love us, because they did not love Him. If they hated the One who is greater, they will certainly hate those who are like Him, but are lower than He is. b. But this is the price that the disciple must be and is willing to pay, because there is nothing in life that
he wants more than to be like Christ, to share in His holiness, to share in His moral perfection and beauty. c. The world today has gone mad in their desire for physical beauty. There are even those who have killed themselves because they did not believe that they measured up to the world’ standard of s beauty, and therefore they could never be truly happy. d. However true beauty is not outward, but inward. The beauty of holiness is far more attractive, at least it is to the Christian. A man or a woman who is like Christ, even though their physical appearance is not as handsome or beautiful as that of others, is far more attractive. This is why King Lemuel could write in Proverbs 31, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (v. 30). Holiness is that which will make a man or a woman attractive long after his or her physical attractiveness has worn away -- and it will wear away from every one of us here. It grows dimmer in everyone of us here who has reached full growth and is declining. But holiness, that inward moral beauty which comes from the Spirit, grows deeper and stronger in the Christian, so that the older they get, the more beautiful they become. This is something which we should all be seeking for ourselves. And for those of you who are seeking, or soon will be seeking, a husband or a wife, this is what you should be looking for in them as well. e. The disciples were looking for this in their own lives, and this is why they wanted to follow Christ. And even if it meant that they would be persecuted by the world, they were willing to pay that price. And since they were, this would help them to overcome their fear. Being prepared ahead of time for the consequences of our choices will help us face them when they come. Jesus was willing to pay that price. To follow His Father’ will meant that He would suffer and eventually die. But He was willing s to do it. He was willing to put His own fear aside, the fear of going through the awful agony of the cross, in order to gain what the Father had promised: the place of preeminence as the God-man over all of creation and eternal glory. We must follow His example and arm ourselves with the same purpose, if we want to avoid fear. 2. Now the second reason the disciples shouldn’ be afraid is because, “There is nothing covered that will not t be revealed, and hidden that will not be known” (v. 26). a. Jesus here is saying that God knows what is going on. There is nothing that escapes His notice. If the disciples do His will and are mistreated, God sees and will avenge them. b. There is a day coming in which all the sins of man will be judged, from the greatest to the least. Jesus said that even every idle word which men speak will be brought up against them. We should be very thankful that the Lord has taken away our sins and removed them as far as the east is from the west. He will not hold our sins against us on that day, but Christ will present us before the Father, blameless and above reproach, if we have trusted in Christ for everlasting life. But it will not be so for the unbeliever. Every one of his sins will become a tremendous weight on that day, pushing him down into hell forever. If that is the case with anyone of you this morning, turn to the Savior now, for He alone is able to remove your sin and guilt. c. Realizing that God will avenge all the wrong which is done to us is a great comfort. Sometimes the Lord sees what evil men are plotting against us and overthrows their plans before we fall into their snares. At other times, the Lord allows the wicked to harm us, but delivers us and punishes them in this life. But at still other times, the Lord allows us to fall into their hands, but delivers us by way of death, and reserves their judgment for the day of His righteous judgment. But which ever way the Lord wills, it can be a great comfort to us knowing that the Lord will right all the wrongs which are done to us in life. All we need to do then is believe that He will, and we will be able to give ourselves more fully to His work and not be afraid. d. “Therefore,” Jesus says, “Do not fear them.” II. Secondly, He says, “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops” (v. 27). Jesus says do not fear, but instead boldly proclaim His truth. This is primarily directed to the apostles, but secondly to all of God’ people. s A. It is aimed primarily at the apostles because it was they that the Lord empowered to teach and preach. 1. The second word which is used here, “proclaim,” is a Greek word which is only used of those who are commissioned by Christ to herald His message as His official messenger. a. Remember that it is His apostles that He is about to send out. b. He has been giving them specific instructions on what they are to do and what they are to say on His
behalf as His ambassadors. This kind of instruction is never directed at the people of God in general. It has only a secondary application to all of the disciples, depending on who they are and where the Lord has placed them. 2. What they are to proclaim is what their Lord had taught them, in the darkness and in secret. a. Notice that they were not commissioned by Him to teach whatever they would like to say, but what He actually taught them. b. If the churches of this nation could just get this simple fact through their heads and stick to the message of Christ, then we would have a lot less problems in the church today. Sadly, the word of Christ doesn’ attract too many people in our day, because the Spirit of God has in a large measure t withdrawn His influence for our sins. That means, among other things, that if the preacher preaches the whole council of God, with very few exceptions, he is not going to draw large crowds. Now that’ s the way it is. The problem comes when the pastor wants to have a large church anyway, and so changes the message to make it more acceptable. The church might grow large, but it will not be faithful. c. The apostles were only to proclaim what the Lord had given them. Lightfoot sees here an allusion to the Rabbinic tradition. It was common in those days when the doctor was teaching, to whisper his message in the ear of the interpreter, who would then speak it out loud. He sees another allusion to the leader of the synagogue going up onto the roof to call the people to prepare for the Sabbath day, where He tells them to proclaim it from the rooftops. Jesus is telling His apostles that they are to take His teaching and to preach it far and wide, so that all might hear the saving message, and so that the Lord might gather in His people. They are not to be afraid of what man might do to them. The Lord has that all in control. Rather, they are go forward with all their might and proclaim Christ’ message s on His behalf. B. But this also has an application for all of us, for all of us are commanded by the Lord to bear witness to His truth in a variety of situations. 1. Parents, you are to speak the truth of Christ to your children, and teach them to live a godly life, no matter how young or old they are. You are their primary source of instruction. 2. Husbands, you are called upon to learn Christ’ Word so that you can teach your wife and children. s 3. All of us are to know God’ truth so that we can admonish one another and encourage one another to grow s in grace. 4. And all of us are called by the Lord to bear witness to His truth in our families, in our neighborhoods, and in our places of employment. 5. Yes, there is always the danger that people will hate us, even those of our own families. Jesus told us that it would be this way. But we should be encouraged, for there is no other way in which we can really know Christ, except as we share His sufferings, and anything that man might do to us, God will repay, either in this life or in the life which is coming. 6. In closing, let us consider the words of the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, who writes, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Ecc. 12:13-14). The only thing He holds us accountable for is to be faithful. Let us be faithful then, and not allow the fear of man to paralyze us anymore. Amen.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.